Photo courtesy Liza Rosales / Orange County SC
IRVINE, Calif. – Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC took a 4-0 victory against Orange County SC on Tuesday night at Orange County Great Park as a three-goal first half earned the side its third consecutive victory. The Switchbacks (9-8-6, 33pts) almost took the lead inside the opening minute when a hard deflection off an Orange County player sent Kevaughn Frater in on goal, but the Jamaican just sent his finish wide of the right post. Colorado Springs took the lead in the 19th minute, however, as Luke Vercollone fired home a great first-time shot from 25 yards off a layoff by Frater into the top-left corner of the net. Three minutes later Shane Malcolm emulated Vercollone’s finish with a spectacular finish with the outside of his right foot into the top-left corner to give the Switchbacks a two-goal advantage. Malcolm then played provider six minutes before halftime as his run into the right side of the penalty area left his marker for dead, and chipped a far-post cross to Masta Kacher for a simple volley home. Orange County (7-6-5, 26pts) came into the game in the second half, and Wuilito Fernandes forced a good save from Switchbacks goalkeeper Moise Pouaty six minutes in with a strong header. Pouaty also made a big save to deny Jerry van Ewijk in the 67th minute, but four minutes later the Switchbacks put the game away as Frater finished low to the right corner to give the side its second consecutive four-goal outing.
19’ – COS – Luke Vercollone (Kevaughn Frater)
22’ – COS – Shane Malcolm (Luke Vercollone)
39’ – COS – Masta Kacher (Shane Malcolm)
71’ – COS – Kevaugn Frater (Eddy Prugh)
Three Things That Matter:
1. The Switchbacks had only scored three goals in a game on the road once previously this season, but on Tuesday night the side produced three top-level finishes in the opening half as it took complete control on the way to a third consecutive victory. The long-range strikes three minutes apart by Luke Vercollone and Shane Malcolm were among the best you could hope to see, both picking out the top-left corner to leave Orange County goalkeeper Charlie Lyon with little chance of a save. Malcolm’s burst of speed and vision to pick out Masta Kacher at the back post for the third provided the cap to a continuation of Colorado Springs’ recent strong form.
2. After the mental boost from Saturday’s late draw against San Antonio FC, the hope for Orange County must surely have been that the side would use that energy as it returned home for a massive game in terms of its playoff push. Instead, OCSC came out flat in the opening half, recording only one shot as it ceded too many chances to its visitors. Things progressed poorly enough to see Head Coach Logan Pause make a first-half tactical substitution to try and shake things up, but by the time the side showed signs of life it was too late to salvage anything from the game.
3. The difference in games played between Orange County and Colorado Springs was the biggest underlying storyline to Tuesday’s game, and the Switchbacks’ victory provided a major boost to the club’s playoff hopes. The Switchbacks still have played five games more than OCSC, but now there is a seven-point gap between the two teams as Orange County reaches the midway point of a grueling stretch in its schedule. Colorado Springs, meanwhile, has recorded four goals in back-to-back games for the first time in club history, and is looking like the sort of side no-one will want to face should it reach the postseason, something that has looked more and more likely in the past two weeks.
USLSoccer.com Man of the Match
Shane Malcolm, Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC – Malcolm scored the best goal of the night, and also provided an outstanding assist as the Switchbacks took a big road victory.
Orange County SC at Swope Park Rangers – August 12, 8:30 p.m. ET, Children’s Mercy Victory Field
Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC at Real Monarchs SLC – August 12, 9 p.m. ET, Rio Tinto Stadium